The head of affordable housing at Barking and Dagenham Council's wholly owned development company Be First has vowed to step up the borough's pace of regeneration projects in 2018.
Jennie Coombs was appointed to the role in December, and began her tenure with a visit to Dagenham's Ley estate, which is in the first phase of development.
Meeting with a father and son team working for contractor Mulalley at the estate to build 69 affordable homes as part of phase two, Coombs praised the work: "The first phase of the Leys estate is a great success, providing modern new homes for local people and we’ve set the bar very high in terms of environmental standards, design and provision of local amenities, like playgrounds and open spaces.
"Like the rest of the country, Barking and Dagenham urgently needs many more affordable houses like these and so Be First is actively looking for partners who share our vision for our community and who will help us step up the pace and quality of development locally."
With one in five members of Mulalley’s workforce living in the borough, operations director John Moore highlighted its desire to support the local community: "As a socially responsible employer we want to employ local people.
"It makes perfect business sense as local people's earnings will be ploughed back into the local economy, which is good for everyone, but they also tend to be more connected to a project in their neighbourhood.”
"With Be First developing further projects in the borough including Gascoigne West and Barking Riverside, Coombs pressed the need for affordable housing: "We've got some great new developments coming up which will provide truly affordable housing for people struggling to find a home.
"I'm determined that we ensure that local people benefit from high-quality new homes, great amenities and employment opportunities."
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